Here I spent much of yesterday's blog devoted to music, and I failed to realize thay yesterday was National One Hit Wonder Day!
And I call myself an American.
Anyway, according to VH1, the following list reflects the Top 20 One Hit Wonders of all time....
(Also, before you think I have a future writing for Rolling Stone, the accompanying text following each song was taken right from the VH1 website, minus a few comments).
20. "She Blinded Me With Science" by Thomas Dolby (1983) The Cairo-born Thomas Robertson was nicknamed “Dolby” by his friends because of his obsession with musical technology, and he played synthesizer on albums by Foreigner and Def Leppard. His 1983 single hit appropriately featured a vocal performance by the eccentric British scientist Magnus Pyke.
19. "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida " by Iron Butterfly (1968) Psychedelia had is brilliant moments, but it was a great cloak for nonsense, too. In 1969, when these dudes arrived out of nowhere with their side-long song driven by a 10-note bass riff, they brought rock something both catchy and cluckish. At heart, they were much more the latter than the former. Which is why they vanished.
18. "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinéad O'Connor (1990) She took a good Prince song and made it great by betting the farm on the fact that candor and intimacy were what people wanted to hear. She bet correctly, and in 1990 the nuance-driven face-only video turned all that private stuff into powerful stuff. Gorgeous. (I actually had a boyfriend play this song over the phone to me after I broke up with him...shout out to KB)
17."We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister (1984) Generic sludge rockers who cast themselves as metal renegades, in 1984 Twisted Sister's marketing device was its singer's use of make-up. But they did have one insidiously infectious tune, and as the group chanted its defiance of all things status-quo, testosteroned teens fell in line.
16."Rapper's Delight" by Sugarhill Gang (1980) Intoxicated on the power of spiel, and up for the challenge of riding the rhythmic groove, these bedrock MCs - Master Gee, Wonder Mike, and Big Bank Hank - brought the glory of rap out of the neighborhood and onto the airwaves in 1979. Chic's "Good Times" was their engine, and the world was their oyster.
15. "96 Tears" by ? And The Mysterians (1966) Proof that attitude is all you need to make a mark on pop. An organ squeals, a tough guy snarls and, in 1966 and forever, a rock fan reaches to turn it up. It's cheesy, it's weird, and it's irresistible. Perhaps the best cultural nugget ever produced by Flint, Michigan.
14. "Groove Is In The Heart" by Deee-Lite (1990) Some say the group was fashion's answer to the B-52's, but the kitschy glamour of this club smash had plenty of musical craft on its side, and its "we're all one" message made room for a broad queer/straight, black/white constituency. A pop gem from 1990.
13. "The Hustle" by Van McCoy (1975) The disco era needed a soundtrack by which hedonists could get busy on the dance floor, and the lite jazz groove perfectly fit the bill in 1976. Honk once if you love flutes. Honk twice if you've ever gotten busy on the dance floor.
12. "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot (1994)Discussing the front part of the human body is dangerous business. But celebrate the rear in song, and you get smiles all around. And if you create a two-cheeked video around a amusing set of rump rhymes driven by a righteous beat, you've hit yourself a home run. It was 1992, and Sisqo's "Thong Song" wasn't far behind.
11."You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone (1977) Schmaltz will always be with us, and from "Earth Angel" to Celine's Titanic song, some of the best radio pop has been pure goo. This ode to Christianity's top dog is sticky as hell. Which is why somewhere this weekend, a couple are slow-dancing to it and weeping.
10."99 Luftballoons" by Nena (1984) German singer Gabriele “Nena” Kerner recorded “99 Luftballons” as a protest against nuclear war. The canny electronic arrangement and singsong melody obscured its serious message and it became a worldwide hit in 1984. She has continued to sing and even hosted a German variety show called Metro.
9."Rico Suave" by Gerardo (1991) Ecuador-born rapper Gerardo performed in Spanglish, a mixture of Spanish and English, but everyone understood the smooth delivery of “Rico Suave.” He scored no more hits after that 1991 No. 7, so Gerardo became a record executive.
8. "Take On Me" by A-Ha (1985) In 1985, with synth pop at its peak, “Take On Me” became one of the genre’s most memorable successes. The song went to No. 1 on an insidious hook and a video that deftly merged animation and live action. America forgot about the Norwegian trio, but a-ha continue to enjoy international success.
7. "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice (1991) Utilizing a clever sample of the bass line to Queen’s “Under Pressure,” “Ice Ice Baby” zipped to No. 1 in 1990. But Ice’s strutting ego and unwarranted boasting about an imaginary gangster past led to a fall that was as quick as his unexpected rise.
6. "Who Let The Dogs Out" by Baha Men (2000) Like Los Del Rio, the Baha Men had already enjoyed a degree of success on the world music circuit with their take on “junkanoo,” a Caribbean fusion of pop and Latin rhythms. “Who Let the Dogs Out” became a monster smash in 2000 and proved particularly popular at sporting events.
5. "Mickey" by Toni Basil (1982) Toni Basil had already had quite a career before topping the charts with “Mickey” in 1982. She danced in the ‘60s concert film The T.A.M.I. Show and acted opposite Jack Nicholson in the Five Easy Pieces. Although Basil never had another hit, she choreographed the Gap’s swing-music ad.
4. "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred (1992)Brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass ran a gym in London when they first teamed up with guitarist Rob Manzoli to form Right Said Fred. Their cheeky 1992 poke at the model culture shot the muscle-bound siblings up to No. 1.
3. "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners (1983) Singer Kevin Rowland and his British musical collective dressed in dungarees and mingled genres like rock and Celtic soul, but nobody expected this single - whose sing-along chorus overwhelmed the dour lyrical perspective - to knock Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” off the No. 1 spot in 1983.
2. "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell (1982) The British synth duo of Marc Almond and Dave Ball were inspired to cover Gloria Jones’ 1964 classic as a tribute to the discos of their youth. Almond’s camp delivery of the suggestive lyrics, however, gave the song a contemporary twist and it flew to No. 8 in 1982.
1. "The Macarena" by Los Del Rio (1996)Antonio Romeo Monge and Rafael Ruiz were just another Spanish flamenco-pop duo when they were inspired to record “Macarena” in 1993 after seeing a dancer in Venezuela. Three years later, after the Bayside Boys remixed the track, it became an American sensation, eventually selling 4 million copies.
The Real Lyrics for Pearl Jam's "Yellow Ledbetter"
Unsealed On a porch a letter sat Then you said I wanna leave it again Once I saw her on a beach of weathered sand And on the sand I wanna leave it again... yeah On a weekend I wanna wish it all away yeah... And they called and I said that I want what I said And then I call out again And the reason oughta leave her calm, I know I said I don't know whether I'm the boxer, or the bag Ah yeah ehh.... Can you see them Out on the porch But they don't wave (Potato wave) I see them round the front way yeah And I know I don't want to stay...
Make me cry
Ooooh I see I don't know there's something else I wanna drum it all away Oh I said I don't, I don't know whether I'm a boxer or the bag Ah yeah ehh.... Can you see them Out on the porch But they don't wave I see them round the front way yeah And I know I don't want to stay I don't wanna stay (2x) Don't Don't wanna Oh... yeah... oooh...
So if the theme of the day is misheard or misquoted lyrics, Pearl Jam's "Yellow Ledbetter" must be the anthem. This song will never seriously risk the chance of being consistently misquoted since no one has any what the heck Eddie Vedder is rambling. It's just a great song. Shout out to Pearl Jam for providing the soundtrack for my early adulthood (along with Ottis Redding, Live, Tori Amos, and Alanis).
Anyway, these geniuses had the great idea to offer a video explanation of the song's lyrics since Eddie Vedder is too cool to do it himself. (BTW...he was a surfer one day, and the next...an artist unwilling to define his art...ugh).
If you are unfamiliar with the song, you may not get it (or consider it a challenge), but if you are, you must watch the whole thing.
Two days ago I posted a rambling reflection about my experience at a concert for The Band. In that post I mentioned a very commonly misquoted line from the song "The Weight".
Many people (including me until that day), believe the line reads: "Take a load off, Annie."
The actual line: "Take a load off, Fannie."
In fact, this is such a commonly misquoted line, if you Google the lyrics to the song, half the results say "Fannie" and the other half say "Annie". Shout out to Rolling Stone for providing the right answer.....
Misquoting a song is a common occurence, especially given the trends in shouting, slurring, and the intentional disregard to grammar (e.g. "Everything she do just turn me on" and every hip hop song ever made).
All of this got me thinking about kid misquotes. Among my own daughter's gems:
"The sun'll come out tomorrow, betch $5 that tomorrow"
"Cinderella, Cinderella, night and day it's Cinderella, clean the bushes, mop the dishes..." and 1,000 variations thereof.
And, of course, the bedtime prayer:
"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray my Lord my soul to keep, and if I find a fish in the lake...."
In my early post about the woman driving behind me on the way to school, I actually wasn't talking about cell phone use. I am kind of okay with hands free cell phone (unless you're someone who cannot handle doing two things at once- and by "someone" I mean me).
I was referring to the top down convertible. I know a lot of people do it, but something about that level of exposure and vulnerability for someone who is small enough to require a car seat just seems like a really bad idea.
When I was five years old and in constant pigtails, my dad sat me down amid a field of dandelions and made me make him one very serious promise. The promise was to be made between a father who loved his little girl and the little girl who found him to be the object of her idolatry. They locked eyes, they shook hands, and the promise was made: She promised that she would always remain five years old. Needless to say, it was probably the first promise I ever broke.
In terms of weather, today may have been my favorite day of the year so far. A warm day with a cool breeze and a nearly cloudless sky. We spent the entire morning outside. We picked tomatoes, dug holes, chased a pretty confused frog, played on the swingset, went for a walk, and even compiled an epic rock collection.
We finished the first half of our day as everyone who can should: with a picnic. Grapes and grilled cheese on a bright yellow picnic blanket. We named clouds and shouted back at the birds and then, for our own version of dessert, we ran around like complete maniacs without any rhyme or reason.
As I watched my little O hustle around the garden, fists pumping and fueled by a full belly and a happy day, I decided that this was the time I wanted to freeze. Forget 5....this time right now is just about perfect for me.
She's full of questions, and wonderment, and love, and with all the emotions surrounding her love of school and her preference for me over lunch with her teachers...I just want to hold on even tighter.
So that's it. We're going to make the deal. Now, I realize by typing this I am inviting the Blarma gods in in full force. Today at dance class she'll probably impale something (or, eek, someone) with her tap shoe. But I really don't care. I'll take the morning battles over clothes and the nightime war over what constitutes a wholesome dinner. I'll take the tantrums and a thousand days straight of runny noses.
As I was driving to pick up my daughter from preschool yesterday, I caught a glimpse of the car behind me; it was also making its way through the very regimented "pick-up" routine. The mother was chatting away on her cell phone, while two car seats sat nestled in the back seats. The first was occupied with a baby, and the second was awaiting its future occupant who was also a student at my little girl's school.
And the car was a bright white convertible with the top down.
It really bothered me. Shouldn't it be illegal? Am I way off?
My daughter has always been a pretty independent kid. Whenever a new situation presents itself, she is quick to jump right in without hesitation, or regard to me. Though I love this about her, there is a tiny part of me that wishes she'd hold onto my leg or sit a little longer in my lap like a lot of kids.
But then there was.
At her preschool, there is offered an additional hour for anyone who might want to take advantage, that includes lunch and some more playtime with classmates. I had mentioned this casually to my daughter as something to do every once in awhile and, no surprise, she was right on board.
So, last week I let her stay and hated every minute of it. I wanted to see how she did, and whom she played with. I wanted to discuss life over a grilled cheese sandwhich and pickle. I wanted her to seem a little little still.
When I picked her up, she seemed excited to see me and she quickly pronounced how much fun she had. As we drove home, I asked her if she'd then want to do it again sometime and she, much to my surprise said, "No thanks".
The following day, my friend Stacey stopped by and engaged her in further conversation about the lunch hour. Again, she stated that she had fun, but also that she had no interest in returning.
I took my kids down to our basement for some cavernous playtime yesterday. Though the basement is pretty much a toy graveyard, when I do take them down it gives them a chance to rediscover the toys they used to really love.
We had a lot of fun and happiness seemed to abound, until I caught sight of our exercise equipment looking lonely in the corner.
When I was in college, my friends and I decided to hop in the car and take a random road trip up to Vermont to enjoy the fall and catch a concert of The Band (yes, they were still touring...).
This was a typical thing for us to do and is also one of the few pre-parenting events I miss in my new life as a responsible mom. There really is nothing quite like take a road trip, on your own time, with no need for maps or planning, just following the road wherever it may lead. There was no one to report to, nor an itinerary on which to abide. It was the height of freedom, and it was wonderful.
So, on this particular trip, we decided to track down this legendary band and have some memorable moments. Though I was not some avid fan of The Band (I really only knew "The Weight" and even then I kept messing up the lyrics by singing "Take a load off, Fannie"), I knew they were something to see and that was reason enough for me.
We found ourselves (along with more than a few members of the AARP) in a wobbly barn in some field in Shelbourne, Vermont. There was hay on the floor, the overwhelming odor of petuli oil, and the sound of nostalgia mixed with random guitar riffs as the sound check started. We were surrounded by people who'd seen The Band at Woodstock, and though I didn't mind being the age minority, I did feel like we had stumbled onto someone else's hallowed ground.
When the concert started, the look and sound of the musicians was more than a little worn by time, but their energy and charisma was as engaging as I imagine it always had been. It was easy to get swept up and, before I knew it, it became just another great moment of live music and appreciative fans.
As the song set wound down, the crowd pressed to the front, at which point Rick Danko handed out a few of his guitar picks to those closest to the stage.
I was a lucky recipient.
As a clasped the pick in my hand, I turned to show my friends the great score and I cam face to face with an older woman who said to me with wide eyes, "I've been following The Band for decades".
"That's great," I said. Though I wasn't being sarcastic, I wasn't sure what else to say. I knew she was telling me this so that I would surrender my pick to her. Instead, I just manuevered over to my friends, excited to have another story to share.
Though Rick Danko has since passed, I still remember the concert clearly, as well as the woman's hopeful face.
Fast forward 12 years....... Each September my grandfather has a mass said in my grandmother's memory. He has been doing this for 23 years.
So, the entire clan on my maternal side gathers together in his tiny NY apartment to share a mass, and enjoy a lively and memorable family reunion. I look forward to it each year, especially since it is one of the only times I get to see some of my cousins.
On this particular Saturday, I caught up with my youngest cousin Kaleigh, who is enjoying her senior year of high school and all the changes and experiences that come with it. As I got her to tell me all about her classes, her love life, and her college ambitions, I also got her to open up about music.
I was shocked to find that she is a fan of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and a host of other bands that defined my own young adulthood. She's even seen a few in concert, something she did without having to worry about a babysitter or work or sleep requirements.
And then I couldn't help but wonder....could she possibly feel the same about those songs as I did? I don't think it was even the best music I'd ever heard, but it meant more than anything I'd heard since.
And then I remembered the face of the woman. She must have been thinking the same thing. How could that guitar pick mean anything to me other than some cool souvenir? How could I not hand it over?